Peter Hammill, Norwich

To say that Peter Hammill's concert attracted a wide interest is an understatement. Fans travelled from Switzerland, Thailand, even Japan, for this concert.

By TREVOR HEATON

To say that Peter Hammill's concert attracted a wide interest is an understatement. Fans travelled from Switzerland, Thailand, even Japan, for this concert at the Assembly Houe in Norwich.

All to take advantage of a chance to listen to one of British music's most distinctive singer-songwriters in action.

With his band, Van Der Graaf Generator, and then through dozens of solo albums, Hammill has brought his songwriting talents, multi-instrumental skills and, above all, his amazing voice to create a devoted cult following.

And what a voice – moving from bass rumble to near falsetto in a powerhouse style which was complemented perfectly by his accompaniment on the Assembly House's grand piano, and occasional semi-acoustic guitar.

From his repertoire of hundreds of songs, Hammill chose a wide range of titles, from the wistful Wendy and the Lost Boy – receiving its live premiere – to the powerful Faculty X from the late 1970s. It was a mixture which went down well with the appreciative audience.

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Hammill delighted his fans by finishing with an old Van Der Graaf favourite, the epic Still Life, whose lyrics about a society where death has been banished have an echo in today's cutting-edge science of genetic engineering.

The concert was organised as part of the Festival Fringe by Norwich record label burningshed, and label boss Tim Bowness is hoping to attract artists of a similar calibre to Norfolk. If they are as good as Peter Hammill, then I can't wait.

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